Mark Pearse, Peter Hill
Risk assessments for large dams and the design of upgrades are often dependent on estimates of peak inflows and outflows well beyond those observed in the historic record. The flood frequencies are therefore simulated using rainfall-runoff models and design rainfalls. The recent update of Australian Rainfall and Runoff (ARR) has revised the design rainfalls used to model floods that are of interest to dam owners. This will change the best estimate of flood frequencies for some dams. However, for most dams the impact of revised design rainfalls on flood frequencies is small compared to other factors that can change (independent of dam upgrades). These include model re-calibrations to larger floods, changes to operating procedures that affect the drawdown distribution and improvements in how the joint probabilities of flood causing factors are simulated. In this paper, we look at how the design flood frequencies for some of Australia’s large dams have changed, the reasons for this and then identify five key questions for dam owners to ask to aid assessment of whether the hydrology for a dam should be reviewed
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Richard Herweynen, Jamie Campbell, Mohsen Moeini
Hydropower storage plays an expanding role in integrated power systems internationally and can enable increased use of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.With an increased amount of renewable energy within the Australian grid, pumped storage has gained increased focus in the past 2years. Entura have been working with Genex Power Ltd. to investigate, evaluate, optimise and design the Kidston Pumped Storage Project, located at the old Kidston gold mine in Northern Queensland. Through this design process, the final arrangement developed included an upper reservoir turkey’s nest dam to be built on the existing waste rock dump on the northern side of the Eldridge Pit, using the existing waste rock dump material and lining it with an HDPE liner. The original waste rock dump was formed during the mining operation by progressively dumping the waste rock predominantly from the Eldridge Pit excavation, with the haul truck traffic being the only compaction that occurred. Since the closure of the mine about 20 years ago, some consolidation of the waste rock dump has occurred.As a result, the key risks identified for the construction of the turkey’s nest dam on top of the waste rock dump were: (1) the stability of the slopes of the waste rock dump, which were generally at the angle of repose for the rockfill material; (2) the absolute settlement of the waste rock dump as the final dam crest level requires a settlement allowance in excess of the flood freeboard requirements; and (3) the differential settlement as excess differential settlement could cause fatigue stress cracking within the liner.This paper presents the investigation and modelling undertaken to confirm the feasibility of constructing this turkey’s nest dam on top of the existing rock waste dump, utilising the historical data on dumped rockfill dams. The paper also presents the feasibility design developed for the upper storage.
Lisa J Neumann, Rod Westmore
In Australia construction of a new dam on a greenfield site is relatively uncommon and construction of a new dam on a brownfield site is even more unusual.This paper presents an innovative design solution to address the challenges associated with such a project.Ridge Park Dam is a new flood retarding dam located in a suburban recreation park, less than 10km south east of Adelaide, South Australia.The dam was constructed in 2014/15 and was designed to limit the peak flows in the creek downstream of the park under the 1 in 100 ARI event and to impound water as a component of the infrastructure required for the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) scheme located in Ridge Park.The expectations of both the client and community and the technical issues encountered in the early stages of the project resulted in some unique design criteria. At the outset the client and community expectation was that the dam would improve the overall amenity of the park without impacting the existing vegetation or functionality of the park, including public access and safety.Identifying a dam type to suit the client and community expectations and address the technical issues was not straightforward.Typical dams types such as embankment dams, mass concrete gravity or concrete buttress structures, were found to be not suitable.A less typical, innovative solution was sought.The outcome was to construct a dam comprising a concrete core wall supported by rock filled gabion baskets.
Paul S. Meeks
In June 2008 a young girl kayaking at a hydroelectric control dam owned by Alcan in Quebec Canada, tragically drowned when she was swept through the open spillgates. The public safety boat barrier, installed the year before, failed to prevent this accident. In June 2015, Stephen Hembree took his daughter and 7 of her friends out for a pontoon boat ride on Lake Linganore to celebrate her 16th birthday. A short time later, Mr. Hembree was dead while his daughter and her friends were be rescued by helicopter as they clung to boulders in the spillway. Contrast these incidents to one in March 2017, when the public safety boat barrier installed by Alliant Energy at Kilbourn Dam was credited with preventing the loss of life after a woman fell into the river above the dam. What went wrong in the first 2 instances and what can we learn from the third incident? What steps can dam owners take to prevent accidents like these from happening?
The first two incidents represent preventable loss of life at a dam while the third incident proves how a proactive approach to public safety results in reduced liability for dam owners and lower loss of life. In the Alcan instance, the public safety barrier installed to prevent this very scenario was instead installed in a location that doomed the girl even before she set her kayak in the water. The second instance demonstrates how a dam owners lack of risk awareness coupled with a boat owners carelessness resulted in a fatality.
Using the incidents above, this presentation, modeled after the Canadian Dam Associations Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams, will educate owners and operators how to identify “dangerous” zones above and below dams. We will consider the effects of surface water velocity of individual survivability and barrier effectiveness. Flow-3D models will be shown to illustrate the effect of barrier alignment and velocity to increase an individual’s ability to “self-rescue”. Lastly, we will integrate within the presentation practical guidelines for the use of signage, sign size, lettering height and message consistency. The presentation will conclude by examining lessons learned in the Alcan incident and presenting how a proper public safety barrier and signage plan would be implemented.
More people have died from accidents around dams than have died from dam failures. The Canadian Dam Association published its guidelines in 2011 and the result has seen a significant reduction in fatalities and injuries as a result of recreating around Canadian Dams. The United States Society on Dams (USSD), the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all have embarked on efforts, modeled in large part around the CDA Guidelines to bring Public Safety out of the dam safety toolbox so Public Safety is viewed as a separate managed system. This is being conducted in an effort to educate and alert dam owners, operators and recreational users to hazards and risks in and around dams.
Steven E Pells, Philip J N Pells
Junction reefs dam was designed in 1895 and constructed by 1897 as a multiple arch brick structure which was the first of its kind in Australia, and one of the earliest in the world. The dam was envisioned to provide mechanical and electrical power for gold mining. This paper provides an historical overview of the unique structure, and reassesses some of its engineering characteristics, such as the stress conditions in its unusual arches and reverse concrete gravity wing walls. The hydrology of the dam is re-assessed from the viewpoint of evaluating its potential as a mini hydro scheme. Commentary is also provided on the performance of its unlined spillway, which has been subject to regular spills for 120 years.
Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.